Armando Gallo

Armando Gallo was born in Venice, grew up in Rome and started his career as a correspondent from London in 1967 for the Italian weekly BIG. He moved to LA in 1975 with a contract from CIAO 2001, the rock bible of Italian youth. Soon he was also writing about movies and television for the Italian weekly TV Sorrisi e Canzoni, Ongaku Senka (Japan) and Suosikki (Finland). He joined the HFPA in 1978. Following the English success of his authorized biography of the rock band Genesis, he formed a publishing company in LA and Rome, producing over 40 books on U2, Pink Floyd, Bob Marley, Springsteen, Peter Gabriel, Michael Jackson, The Police, Madonna, the Beatles and the Stones. In 1984, Gallo lived between London, Milan and Rome and finally moved back to LA in 1991 when he rejoined the HFPA, still writing for TV Sorrisi e Canzoni, TUTTO and CIAK. The following year, he shot and produced a video for U2, Even Better Than The Real Thing. For the past 30 years, he has concentrated on writing about movies, television and the Golden Globes. Since 2010 he has been writing for Oggi and Grazia, the two oldest Italian magazines.

  • Festivals

78th Venice Film Festival – Women and Italy Dominate Awards

Leaving Venice, the morning after the Awards Ceremony, I could see from the international headlines that the awards given out by the diverse Jury of this 78th Venice Film festival, made cinema lovers, happy and content. If the selection of the films and documentaries, assembled by artistic director Alberto Barbera was excellent, the awards did not disappoint.

Firstly, women garnered top awards: French/Lebanese director Audrey Diwan won the coveted Golden Lion with a very intense and timely film on abortion, titled L’événement. New Zealand’s Jane Campion secured Best Director with The Power of the Dog.  Spanish star Penélope Cruz won Best Actress (Coppa Volpi) for her work in Pedro Almodóvar’s Madres Paralelas. And Best screenplay went to Maggie Gyllenhaal, for The Lost Daughter, an adaptation of the 2008 novel by the elusive Elena Ferrante.

Italian director Paolo Sorrentino won three awards with his new autobiographical movie È stata la mano di Dio (The Hand of God). The Golden Globe winner (with La Grande Bellezza), was in the US preparing his first American film when Covid struck, wreaking havoc on industry projects. Back in Italy, Sorrentino surprised fans with an entry to this 78th Venice competition: a finished film, and the most personal yet of his career. The film retraces the directors’ family life and the shocking loss of his parents when he was 17.


A big supporter of the Napoli soccer team, at the time led by Diego Armando Maradona, Sorrentino had gone to the stadium for a game instead of following his parents for an outing in their country. A gas leak killed his parents in their sleep that night.

The Hand of God references this episode as much as the goal that Maradona scored with his hand against England during the World Cup of 1988, won by Argentina.

The film won the prestigious Silver Lion as well as the prize awarded by the Italian press: The Pasinetti. The director was moved when he went on stage of Sala Grande, to receive the Leone d’argento.” “At the funeral of my parents,” he said, “The school didn’t send my entire class, but only a delegation of four. That unsettled me, but today I am happy that the entire class is here with me tonight.” He had to stop tears when he mentioned his wife of 20 years, Daniela, and his producer Nicola Giuliano, who believed in him in 2002. The third award for The Hand of God came via the young actor who played Sorrentino as a teenager, Filippo Scotti. He received the Mastroianni Award for the Best Newcomer.

The Special Jury Award went to another Italian film Il Buco (The Hole) – by Michelangelo Frammartino, who delivered a very creative and experimental movie with no dialogue about young speleologists exploring the belly of the ancient region of Calabria in 1961. Further honors to hometown filmmakers included Gabriele Mainetti who got a Special Pasinetti Mention as the director of Freaks Out, totally deserved for the fantastic theme of the movie: a group of Circus artists, during WWII, not totally aware of their superpowers. It’s not Marvel, but perhaps Marvel could get some tips on how to render superpowers a little bit more human.


Best Actor’s Coppa Volpi went to Philipino actor John Artilla but his director, Erik Matti, got it on his behalf. The film presented in Venice, On the Job: The Missing 8 ran nearly 4 hours, but it looks like HBO will pick it up in Asia and the USA as a mini-series.


Hollywood gave the festival a taste of things to come for the reopened Cinemas with a fascinating remake of Dune by Denis Villeneuve and Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel that brought some Hollywood glamour to the Lido when Ben Affleck roamed the red carpet with Jennifer Lopez, their old flame seemingly rekindled in the romantic Venetian lagoon.